Who knew it was possible to make a career out of golf and comedy? That is how Hally Leadbetter, daughter of renowned golf instructor David Leadbetter, has paved her own way into the golfing world.
A college student who once thought she would play golf professionally — and then later considered moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting — found a way to merge her two loves, golf and comedy, to make an impact in the golf industry. Not only does she enlighten her 39,000-plus followers on Instagram with her creative content, but she makes an effort to use comedy as a way to highlight issues and stereotypes that women face in the golf industry.
Hally grew up in a “golf bubble” as she liked to put it.
“I thought the Morning Drive was the news,” she recounted with a laugh, referring to the old golf talk show on Golf Channel that ran for 10 years and ended in 2020.
Despite being around golf constantly with her father coaching players like Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Michelle Wie and Lydia Ko, Hally didn’t pick up golf until she was 13 years old. Her dad signed her up for an 18-hole tournament in England, where they often spent their summers as a family.
“I just assumed that I would be good at golf because I’d been surrounded by people who were really good,” Hally said. “In that tournament, I think I shot 136 and just remember being like, ‘oh my gosh, this is a lot harder than I thought it would be.’ I was a really stubborn little kid. So I don’t think I initially fell in love with the game of golf. I think I fell in love with the challenge of wanting to get better.”
Hally’s stubbornness paid off and eventually earned her a spot on the Arkansas women’s golf team.
“I was kind of beating myself up because I had to come to terms with the fact that professional golf wasn’t something that I wanted to pursue.” — Hally Leadbetter
“I’ve always been a very all-or-nothing person,” she said. “So naturally, I said if I’m picking up golf, I’m going to be a professional golfer. So in my mind, that was my goal throughout high school.”
During this time, she was also taking acting classes. Little did she know how her two interests would later merge into a career.
“Going into Arkansas, my goal was to be on the LPGA Tour,” Hally said. “But there was always the side of me where I really love making people laugh, and so I started to think I really wanted to scratch this itch of doing some entertainment. When I transferred to Rollins, I was encouraged to ask the question, ‘what else do you have besides golf?’ My coach really encouraged me to engage in other things that interested me. That was when I started doing a college radio show at Rollins and when I thought, ‘okay, maybe there is a career here.’”
While excited about these new career opportunities, transitions out of sport are never easy.
“I was kind of beating myself up because I had to come to terms with the fact that professional golf wasn’t something that I wanted to pursue,” Hally said. “I was kind of mad at myself at the time because you put in all this work and you have all the resources and you ask yourself ‘how could you not want this?’ And I think for me to realize that no, it’s not all for nothing. You can still use the knowledge that you’ve learned from the experiences that you’ve had and pair it with another passion for potentially a new avenue. I think that was a really big turning point for me when I went to Rollins because I realized I can pair these things of golf and entertainment.”
Hally’s first job out of college was as a social media coordinator at Golf Digest in March of 2017 where she managed their different social platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), conducted live interviews on their social accounts and collaborated with editors to create written and digital content.
“That first job was a really great understanding of how social media in general works because the way people are consuming media is changing so fast,” she said.
After eight months, she left Golf Digest to work for the PGA Tour as a digital producer before a return trip back to Golf Digest.
“I never thought in a million years that I would go back to New York City and work at Golf Digest again,” she said. “And then I got asked to go back and run their social team, which was awesome, but I told them I’d love to start doing some on-camera stuff. Working as a digital producer for the PGA Tour gave me a great understanding of what kind of content people reacted to or what might resonate with people to make them stop scrolling.”
Hally worked for Golf Digest full-time for four years until she started receiving interest from other companies.
“I started getting some different opportunities from the USGA and some commentary requests with PGA Tour Live, and that’s when I had a really great discussion with Golf Digest,” Hally said. “They were really supportive in figuring out a way where I could continue to grow but still do work for them.”
As a result, Hally turned into a freelance host, reporter and producer by creating her own company called “Hey Hally”.
Her clients include Golf Digest, CBS Sports Network, USGA, Callaway Golf and Nike. She travels at least two weeks each month for work; when she’s not on the road, she focuses on creating her own content. Earlier this year, Hally collaborated with golfpass.com to create a hilarious piece titled “Other Foot Country Club,” the first episode in her “Better Off with Hally Leadbetter” series. The Other Foot Country Club was an all-women’s club that addressed the microaggressions women face at traditional, old-school golf clubs — but it flipped those microaggressions to be directed at men.
The video has over two million views across all social platforms. But it was one of those videos where Hally and her team worked on it for so long to the point where they were unsure how the golf audience would respond.
“You know when you watch something over and over again and wonder if it’s even funny anymore? It got to the point where we spent so much time on it that we didn’t know how people would react,” she said. “So it was really, really cool to get such a positive reaction. Even when I was at the U.S. Women’s Open, there were LPGA Hall of Famers that told me they loved the video. And men, too, telling me they thought it was really funny.”
Hally has created other comedic videos since then, poking fun at people who cheat in charity scrambles and addressing traditional tee box names like the “ladies’ tees.”
“I think humor lets people’s guards down,” she said. “That’s the issue when you point your finger directly at someone, people assume that you’re attacking their character. It made me so happy to see some of the people who reached out and said that the video was so funny but also really opened my eyes to a lot of things that women go through.”
Hally continues to pave ways in the golf space by combining her knowledge for golf and charming ability to make people laugh.
“When you incorporate a little bit of humor in a message you’re trying to get across, and if you can do it in a sketch comedy form where people see it acted out and catch themselves laughing, whether relating to the video or being the brunt of the joke, that’s what’s really fun.”
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